Davao City — For this mother of 3, being unaware of legal process working abroad made her learn a life’s lesson the hard way.

In dire need of work and with the desire to go abroad, 34-year-old Marian Vanessa Lacerna, a resident of Brgy. Ulas here gave in to the supposed-opportunity her friend proposed her –  a household service worker in Dubai. The short process was so alluring that she grabbed it without any second thought, even of its legalities.

“I never went through any registered employment agency, nor did I know that I have to pass through POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency) and other government agencies,” Marian said.

Marian worked in Dubai as a household service worker in 2009 undocumented. Her stint on the job only lasted for about a year and later returned to the Philippines.

During her stay, she did not have regular communication with her three children because she was not allowed by her employers to use mobile phones. Also, she was seldom granted her day-off.

“I was only allowed to use cell(ular) phones a few times, one was during Christmas time and when they gave me the tracking number of the remittance to my family,” Fatima said.

Going back to the country, she thought it was an absolute end. She thought she can no longer support her family. With a meager capital, she started to put up her own vending store of vegetables.

Luckily, after attending the orientation on the programs of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) she learned she qualified to avail of its services and assistance.

She availed herself of the P10,000 livelihood assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment – National Reintegration Center for OFW (DOLE-NRCO).

“I will use this amount to expand my small store selling vegetables. I will also venture now in rice retailing business,” she said.

With DOLE-NRCO, the OFWs and their families like Marian are now enable to work and live with entrepreneurial mindset, primarily through the creation of awareness on the value of saving, and empowering them to plan for investment, business, or local employment upon their return, while responding to the reintegration needs of displaced OFWs and OFWs in distressful situations.

The National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) is the youngest bureau under the Department of Labor and Employment. It acts as the Philippine government’s Reintegration Manager, addressing the multifaceted needs of our modern heroes and their families to a more productive return to the Philippines. (Rob Gumba/DOLE GIP)